I’ve grown to appreciate Electric Wizard over time. When they initially burst onto the scene, my first impression was a small band hiding behind a big sound. I don’t feel that way anymore, but let’s be honest, how often have you reached for Come My Fanatics in the last 17 years? Dopethrone might be a different story for most, but the album they started to win me over with was Witchcult Today. Again, not at first —you can reference this very site as we speak for an embarrassing, poorly-written review by 28-year old douchebag-know-it-all me— but I’ve warmed up to it a lot since then, especially timeless anthems like “Dunwich” and “Torquemada ‘71.” Factor in how much I enjoyed 2010’s Black Masses —maybe the least filler of any LP in their discography— and Time to Die becomes the first Electric Wizard record that I’m actually psyched for beforehand. Well… it’s yet another testament to the bucket of lukewarm fecal matter that is my luck… Oborn & Buckingham sure picked a fine time to phone one in. Not sure if it’s emotional jetlag after a somewhat nasty split with Rise Above Records, or if there just isn’t much left in the tank, but most of Time to Die flatlines in unspectacular fashion. What’s unfortunate is that when an Electric Wizard song is bad, it’s bad for SOOO LOOONG! The opening tandem of “Incense for the Damned” (10:42) and the title track (7:49) feels like a hookless eternity. “I Am Nothing” is a far tastier slab of the group’s signature speaker-destroying beefiness, but even this awesome song drags on a few minutes longer than it needs to. I’m just not hearing much focus or inspiration. When these guys (and gal) lock into a memorable groove with their massive sound, they’re unstoppable. It simply doesn’t occur too often here. Oborn’s vocal performance seems especially half-hearted throughout, sounding borderline comatose on the sloppy “Funeral of Your Mind” and “We Love the Dead.” Buckingham may have saved her best riffs for “SadioWitch” and “Lucifer’s Slaves,” but by this point it feels like a lost cause. They’ve flat-out laid an egg here, and just when 35-year old douchebag-know-it-all me was starting to root for them. Oh well… time to throw “I Am Nothing” on a mixtape and move on with my “life.” Better luck next time, Wiz.
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